I’ve certainly been in a number of sessions over the last three days, many of which I’ve blogged about here, but what have I learned?
- Centralised documentation
- Emphasis on ongoing development through the school’s action plan
- More detailed explanation of the self-study process
- More focused questions under each standard
- Specific PD requirements to complete during the period.
I thought I should take the opportunity to acquaint myself with current IB strategic directions and how the organisation saw itself, so I got into a session at IBAC2013 on this topic Here’s what I found out:
This presentation from the AAIB 2009 Conference was from Malcolm Nicolson – Head of MYP (Cardiff)
He talked about the 1986 split into IB and IGSCE? and the history of the IB and how the various sections had developed individually and how the different programs talked about inspiration and ingenuity.
He acknowledged that the IB currently didn’t have an over-arching focus on ingenuity, but that was a goal they were working towards as a direct result of this conference. It was a fairly tenuous link he made at times. It was also blue dotpoints on the official IB template. Hmm.
It was more interesting when he discussed where IB should go in the future; ie. Can we address 21st century learners with these structures. This had been the focus for a recent discussion in England and came up with some points such as:
Teaching and assessing in multiple ways, disclipined minds, synthesising minds, creating mind, respectful mind, ethical mind…
How easy will it be for students to be individuals and have time for personal reflection with a desire for developing self-reflection skills when students are ‘never alone because they’re on Twitter and Facebook’ Students are wanting to present their learning on Facebook, on blogs, on wikis. What is the IB going to do about that? How relevant is the written exam now?
Should IB do more about sustainability?
How should IB respond to technology overall?
He talked about their work with Harvard Graduate School of Education (USA) and publications coming from that association. One of the emphases here was on rigorous learning in the discipline and interdisciplinary synergy as well as focus on real world projects and issues.
One interesting point he made was that the MYP program provided opportunities for creativity and innovation in a way that many state-sponsored curricula didn’t. Teachers are ‘given the freedom to create their own courses.
‘It’s all about the cloud: anytime, anywhere’
Whitby was the first keynote of the AAIBS 2009 Conference. After a brief attempt at getting his audience to do the chicken dance, he began by talking about something of the bad press that education gets; that we somehow need a ‘revolution’ to make schools right. (Or politicians need one to get elected?)
However, he argued that disengagement of students was the key factor in education today, and argued that educators need to ‘re-take the ground’ on the education debate.
He argued that young people were disengaging because the structures, processes, procedures schools put in place no longer matched the world they live in.
Governments want a silver bullet. Educators need to be creative and collaborative about solutions and resist such simplistic approaches
How do you scale innovation in a school? Ingenuity is a better world than discovery because it involves bringing expertise to the problems
He argued that the laptop computer was not liked by students (?: not my experience) because the computer was always right (?:huh?) and that the Iphone was a step to learners constructing the knowledge (?) moving away from the hierarchal to the conceptual.
He lost me through this bit but then ended by saying that by marching kids into computer labs once a week and calling it ‘technology’, while all along they all had more powerful computers in their pockets which were officially ‘banned’ by their schools, was somewhat silly.
He then went back to reaffirming it being about the learning, not the technology. Okay, I was back. He then said it was about learning for this century and talked of the recent OECD work which described learning having four components:
Customised: 1-1 learning
Knowledge sources: Cloud, anywhere, anytime learning
Collaboration: between teachers and students, students and students, and teachers and teachers (Called in the literature as ‘de-privatising practice‘) Learning is a ‘mediated practice’
Assessment: here, he emphasised ‘assessment for learning’.
Whitby has an almost aggressive style of delivery, striding the stage and declaiming that change was coming and that it was all going to get harder but in the end I liked, and agreed with, most of what he was saying.
It got more interesting when he began taking about what these things looked like in real life; what do we do in real life in our schools on Monday?
Whitby’s new schools would have a different framework, different learning spaces, no bells, individualised and based around a conceptual framework not an industrial framework
Such models are more complex (that’s why we don’t see many schools doing it) and require some background ‘grunt’ in knowledge management systems to deliver it.
He also talked about the work of John Hattie, who I’ve been looking a lot at lately, who argues that the two biggest influences on student learning are the teacher, and feedback.
Whitby argued that teacher learning, especially about pedagogy, was often hugely ignored, and yet it was critical. The best form of professional learning is a workspace approach, not a workshop approach, learning with colleagues n a school. The systems that are making the biggest difference are building time for reflection on practice.
When I got back to work I found this YouTube video from Whitby, which discusses some of the concepts he was exploring here.
I’m in Adelaide this weekend at the AAIBS (IB) 2009 Conference with the ambitious agenda of ‘Human ingenuity; Pedagogy for the 21st Century. But it’s begun well and I’ll add some more details notes and responses to the sessions when I find a powerpoint and a hotel that doesn’t charge $55 for internet access.
The Conference website is HERE